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Views on Compassion

Islam

In the Muslim tradition, foremost among God’s attributes are mercy and compassion or, in the canonical language of Arabic, Rahman and Rahim.  Each of the 114 chapters of the Quran, with one exception, begins with the verse, “In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful.”  The Arabic word for compassion is rahmah.  As a cultural influence, its roots abound in the Quran.  A good Muslim is to commence each day, each prayer and each significant action by invoking God the Merciful and Compassionate, i.e. by reciting Bism-i-llah a Rahman-i-Rahim.  The womb and family ties are characterized by compassion and named after the exalted attribute of God “Al-Rahim” (The Compassionate).

The Muslim scriptures urge compassion towards captives as well as to widows, orphans and the poor.  Zakat, a toll tax to help the poor and needy, is obligatory upon all Muslims deemed wealthy enough to do so (calculated by assessing the net wealth of an adult at the end of a year) (9:60).  One of the practical purposes of fasting or sawm during the month of Ramadan is to help one empathize with the hunger pangs of those less fortunate, to enhance sensitivity to the suffering of others and develop compassion for the poor and destitute.  The Prophet is referred to by the Quran as the Mercy of the World (21:107); and one of the sayings of the Prophet informs the faithful that, “God is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child.”

Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia